How to Apply for PhD in USA.  – Guest Post by Ashish (HSB Reader).

This blog helped me in everyway from starting of my application to VISA interview. I read so many posts by students regarding Universities.

The whole process which I think need to be followed by each and every students on how to apply for PhD in USA program.

How to Apply for PhD in USA

Follow the guide on how to apply for PhD in USA.

  1. Understand What Exactly in PhD?
  2. Give GRE and TOEFL exam. (side by side prepare LORs and SOP).
  3. Contact to the professor tell them “You are interested in their work and tell about your GRE and TOEFL score, write some line about the work which make you interested about his/her work.”
  4. Apply online/ fill the online application of Universities.
  5. Check the requirements of Universities.
  6. IF you have any kind of doubt contact to the graduate office.
  7. University you choose one should be your dream University (I mean high level according to your score, where chances are very less) two University according to your score.
  8. And for the safer side apply to one University which accepts score below of your GRE and TOEFL score.
  9. When you completed your application , tell the prof. about your application he/she will keep the track of your application.
  10. Now check the status of your application.
  11. When they confirm your admission for PhD before that they can take your interview on skype.
    • Sometimes it just a talk between you and director of your department.
    • And sometimes core interview, prepare according to that.
  12. Now if they accept you they will intimate you abut your admission.
    • Sometimes will send offer letter to you. You need to sign it and sent it back to UNIV via mail/email.

Now you have received the admission for PhD. Typical timeline to complete 11 steps in how to apply for doctorate degree in USA is about 1 to 2 years.

F1 Visa Preparation for PhD in USA

  1. Now they will issue you I20 [Sample I-20 Form]. For that they will provide you tracking no.
  2. When they proceed your I20 or want to send it you tell them to send a scanned copy of I20 also. so that you can start your processing for Visa interview.
  • Fill the DS 160 form with utmost patience.
  • Pay SEVIS fee, need to pay only 200$, you can use print out for your visa interview.
  • Pay HDFC fee for visa interview. It will be activated in 2 business days.
  • After 2 days book visa interview date according toy our convenience. when your documents can be completed book according to that.
  • Side by side read the posts of F1 visa interview experiences  given at HSB it will help you to frame your answer.
  • Prepare your answer and practice them in front of mirror.

Now Documents for PhD  VISA interview

  1. CA statement (bank statement of your sponsors, PPF, GPF and show all types of fund, movable and immovable (land/property/house))
  2. Affidavit by parents
  3. If taking loan show it in CA statement.

F1 VISA interview

  1. Maintain eye contact with the VO and smile.
  2. Give your answer with confidence.
  3. F1 Visa Tips (not Tricks)



  1. Hi… recently I gave GRE and scored 302 ( Q 155, V 147, AW – 3) . I want to do MS in USA, but only when I get a scholarship in any form, otherwise it won’t be possible for me bcoz of my weak financial aid. My scores uptill now are 10th – 83%, 12th – 82.6% , BE – 72.64% ( C.E. stream) , currently working in a software firm as Web Developer and have 2.8 yrs of experience. Do I have any possibility to have
    any good institution for MS so that after my degree completion I can easily get a job there? Beside this, I came to know about integrated PhD from other sources, which includes MS(1.5 yrs) + PhD (2.5 yrs) thus overall making 4yrs course and heard its easy to get scholarship in PhD programme as compared to MS. I am preferring for MS but if that can’t be done ( may be bcoz of financial lagging or academical results ) then I will go for the later i.e. PhD. Please guide me.

  2. Hi
    I want to do PhD from USA. I have done an integrated course in Petroleum Engg and MBA in oil & gas. I want to know that whether i can pursue Phd now in US?
    Also do i have to give GRE? what min score is req for PhD in US?
    Kindly reply asap.

  3. I have done M. Pharm from reputed and internationally acclaimed research lab from India. I have 5 international publications in good impact journals and 5 poster presentations in national conferences. I am looking for PhD in pharmacy in USA with good scholarship. I dont want to do MS. Please guide.

  4. can u please suggest me the universities in USA which offer Phd in Image processing Stream. my gre score – 294 (v-139,Q-155) MTech -77%,BTech 73%,Do i get funding with my score…. pls help me out

    • Hi Anusha
      Even im interested in doing Phd in Image processing, I have a few details though, n i think it wld be great if you could share some of the details if any?.

  5. hi..
    actually i completed want to do phd online.any one help me what is the process to do phd through online….

  6. Dear Sir,

    I am a post-graduate student from Bangalore, with majors in regenerative medicine. I am thinking of applying for a PhD program in US during fall (2013), but the LORs seem to be a problem, can you please tell me, how important are LORs and is it necessary to include a LOR from the Prinicipal Investigator/Mentor during last sem research project?

  7. Hi HSB,
    I have gre score :303 Q=159 V=144. AWA:awaiting
    Toefl: 13th october 212
    Engineering aggregate :64% (no back logs) (branch:EXTC)
    Sir, can you suggest some universities for Electrical engineering for the above score. Also should I take job experience for a year or two as the score is low and then pursue for MS.

  8. Hi HSB,
    As you told, in order to get a PhD from US, we first need to contact the faculty. But most of the faculties replies as they don’t have any opening this time. I had a GRE Score of 1200 & TOEFL 91 with 3 yr research experience and 2 international research peppers.
    I sent application to many professors but didn’t get a positive reply.

    pls help how should I proceed.

  9. Hi!
    I got 610 GMAT and 93 TOEFL and my undergrateduate GPA is 3.44. I would like to apply for Ph.D in Finance at some “average” schools. Please, I need your advice that if there are any chances for me? Cause I love to study Ph.D without getting Master…. but if it’s impossible, I must consider another choice. Thanks.

  10. Hello everyone,

    I’m Shipra from India and completed Masters in pharmacy in Pharmacognosy. I want to do PhD in USA. If anyone knows, kindly guide me whether I can apply for Pharmacology or not??

    Thanks .

  11. i have done mba in insurance from amity university noida.and right now i am worling in ING company from last 2 yrs as sales manager .now i want to do phd from plzzz guide me.

  12. I have got 75% in High School; and 65% in Inter and I am doing Btech in biotechnology with 70% and have done two research papers and worked on 1 project and I have not yet given the GRE and planning to give this SEP in my final year so that I can get selected in the Fall session.
    As I wanted to apply for the PhD program so I wanted to ask that at this percentage what all colleges can I apply for if I secure GRE score around 310.
    Thank you

  13. Hi,
    Can someone help me with this, I’m pursuing my masters in Chem. Engg. at IIT G and I want to do my PHD in USA, I’ve not appeared for GRE and TOEFL exams yet. So please guide me what I’ve to do from now to get the admission in a better University for the coming JULY/AUGUST. I’ll be very pleased with your replies and gladly I’m waiting for it.

    Thank you,

    • Hello Ravi,
      You should sit for your GRE by April 2012 at the max, so that you have ample time to get the scores and apply to the universities of your choice. Preparing for GRE won’t take more than a couple of months(or 3 months, if you do it as ease). You should get through for a PhD admission by Fall 2012. My best wishes are with you. :)

      • Hi Bose,
        Thank you for all kinda effort you put on me, I’m very glad about your reply and wishes. Sorry for the trouble I’m adding few more questions in a row and I’ll be more happy if you reply for it too.
        1. As you suggested I’ve to write my GRE before April, but some people are saying Jan. 15 is the last date to apply to any US universities.
        2. Is there any option like: first we’ll apply without appearing any exams and later on (i.e before April) I can go through these.
        lastly I need US probable list for new GRE scores, infact I’ve searched for it but haven’t found anything like that.

        Thank you,

  14. I did write my Toefl 79 is my score in which 15 rc, and listening 16,26 speaking and 22 writing. Please help me in improving my reading and listening score I used barrons and Kaplan cd tests already. And results were not even good when I used to practice now I already have used these what else can help me in improvng scores . My listening went bad because of my poor writing speed on scratch paper in lectures and find really hard in reading section
    Sorry for the long post n thanx for reading ?

  15. Hello guys I thanks for the helpful posts on this website. I appreaciate them all.

    I jsut wanna know what is the best material for TOEFL, I want to do it next month
    What are the best authors for TOEFL. Thanks in advance.

    • I think the best material for TOEFL is barrons. Do it from barrons. Do all the test which are given in CD and learn from your mistakes this is the main key.

      Nothing else is required just do all the sessions from barrons.

        • read all the tips which are given in barrons befoe going to solve any session. And note down some small tips. It will really help you out.

  16. can you please help me about integrated phd in usa?please provide me the information. and also i want details about ms in germany.

    • Your question is like, you want to do something and what you don’t even know.

      I would like to suggest you first do some search, then post here. You want to go for PhD. You need to do these things on your own.

  17. US Consulates are rejecting every VISA these days. Something is wrong with the immigration policy…….
    What do u say..?

    I have been rejected two times without any reason. I am admitted in Northeastern University, Boston for MS for fall 2011. Now due to unavailability of VISA i have to change my term and do something else in the mean time.

    What are your thoughts in this…? pls…….

    • It’s not like that, there must be some reason becuase of that students are getting rejections.

      Even though some are gettng rejetced some are getting visa too.

  18. Hii…I am jyothi, did my MS biology from an indian inst.i have v good academics til ny bachlors,bit my masters agreagate is v.less,its just 6.6 cgpa….i wanna do phd in USA,i have 1200 GRE and 95 TOFEL….will i get rejected as my masters % is v less…..plzz help mee..

    • Apply and find for yourselves. See, I am not a PhD student yet but got admitted into MS only to pursue a PhD . I had a meager % of 56.44 and 19 backlogs in b-tech. 1040 in GRE and 97 in TOEFL yet I got admitted. It was very hard for me to contemplate an admission for a long time. But when I started to write the SOP and recommendation letters ( yes I did write but got them attested with the my lecturers) I highlighted all the positives that could get me an admission. At the end I was really amazed with my achievements as a student even though my % is less. (if you are a PhD material, then there would be something that could guarantee an admission in your CV) I applied for 3 univs and got admitted into 2. Admission officer from a university did interview for about an hour and granted me conditional admission. ( That’s an admission nevertheless, I just need to prove my caliber by scoring at least a 3.0 GPA in the core subjects in the first 3 semesters which is a piece a cake)

      My whole point is, identify your strengths and highlight them. You need not hide anything. When they ask for the reason for your underachievement give an honest reply stating what really happened. That’s different from giving reasons and excuses. There are even other ways to get a PhD, I guess you can even apply solely for Masters, you would be doing the mandatory papers first and continue with your PhD. I hope you got my point. All the best.

  19. Hey., Congratulations on your admission!!!!
    Btwn, which course did u apply for masters? Pharmaceutics..?? Is there spring admission fr the college..??

  20. Hi
    I did MCA (regular) from Banasthali University with 75% and currently working in an MNC from last 3 years.Also I did MBA from Symbiosis as distance learning. Now I want to do PHD from US. Will I get any benefit of my work experience or I have to follow the same steps of giving GRE and TOEFL . I am planning to get admission this year only. Please guide me regarding this

    • You can get benefit of that but you need to give GRE and TOEFL first. Without GRE and TOEFL you can get admission in PhD but chances of getting visa are very less.

      You need to follow these steps. :) :)

  21. Hello sir, This is Satish Bhandare from India. I have completed M.Sc. in Microbiology and I am looking for the Ph.d. I dont have TOEFL and GRE score. Can i apply without this exam score? Already i have applied for the phd programme but i was rejected. Have they been rejected me only becouse i dont have this exam Score? They clearly mentioned that TOEFL and GRE is not compalsory. I have good subject related to AIDS and Immunodeficiency disease and I am willing to work on this subject. Still i am not successful to get entrance. Pls reply. Thank you.

    • Dude First write GRE and TOEFL. Even if you will get admissio without GRE and TOEFL score, but there is very low chances that you will get visa without GRE and TOEFL score.

      So keep that in mind. First Give GRE and TOEFL and side by side search Universities whihc are working on your topic of inerest.

  22. Hi!

    Thanks lot for this post!!
    I am willing to apply for a Ph.D in electrical engineering………but got AWA score 3.5(26%ile)…….is it enough or should i retake GRE for low AWA score?….my other scores are: 780+640…Pls help

    with regards,

    • @ saikat banerjee: In AWA i got 2.0. Even though I got admission for PhD. Why are you wasting money to retake GRE? Don’t worry your GRE is damn good.

      Get a good score in TOEFL prepare well for that. Get more than 95. Then follow the above process.

      You know one thing, GRE and TOEFL are the gateway to get into USA. Now matters is contact which you will make to the prof of your interest.

  23. @ HSB: Thanks for posting it. I got my visa and booked the flight of early morning of 5th august. I got admission to Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. I need to give English proficiency test in my University as my TOEFL was just 81.

    I heard one case, @ 980 GRE score one lady got in Texas Tech University.

    I hope this will really help students who will apply for PhD. The one more thing, please don’t go for any consultancy. they will charge like anything. if you guys will do on your own, will learn so many things about the process.

  24. Sir, i have completed Bachelor of Pharmacy in India and i want to join directly to a PhD program in US. Is that possible? What would be the overall expense. Thank you.

    • Try in University of Louisiana at Monroe. It’s a good University. And compare to other University/places it’s not too much expensive.

  25. Please do tell us that when should we give GRE and TOEFL, if we want to get admissions in 2012…P.H.d is States..

    • It’s upto you. The best time is to give GRE and TOEFL s July and August or September. Because most of the University have deadline in december. You need time to prepare LOR and SOP as well. You will have ample amount of time if you do like this.

      In case of mine i gave GRE and TOEFL in October and I was able to apply in only 2 Universities because of deadline of most of the Universiteis were over at that time.

      • But is it true that admissions in P.hd take place at all the times of the year…there is no specific date for deadlines in Phd…?

        I ave heard that M.S has deadlines but admissions for P.hd take place at all times in the year..?

        • Yeah it depnds on university. Some University have deadline and some takes admission throughout a year. For details you need to check the dealines of different different Universities.

  26. Dear sir
    I m a student who had passed high school Level examination with 64% n interested to study medicine while graduating. So if there are any college where i can apply please inform me in my mailing address. And since i m from poor economic background i will need scholarships to study in good universities so if there are any schools or professors who can help me send their contact mail address.
    Thank You

    • If i am right, you are talking about masters. You can easly get loan for study in USA. Everyone one do not comes from a solid economic background. If you are not done with your bachelors then do some good project in that. Which will help you to get admission for masters.

      Regarding Universities, no one can help you out. You need to do search on your own. I am sorry, if i was harsh in this comment.

  27. hi,
    the post is really well written and quite informative …i would like to know more about the documents u need to carry while your visa -interview .. as the post describes ca statement
    of sponsors …(if u get funding from univ .. do u still need it )… and what exactly is it ..

    regards ,

  28. Hi,

    I am so happy to see this post.
    Just now I was thinking of putting some queries regarding Ph.D. in states, but your post solved it all.

    I still have a question, should we select the univ’s before giving GRE/TOEFL? or afterwards?


    • Hi Ribu,

      You have to select universities before u take up TOEFL, as it will be sent free to those universities while taking date of TOEFL.
      While for GRE, once the test is completed, you get a choice to send your scores to four universities which u have to be prepared to select, which is free of cost.
      In either case, if you have to send a score to any university, u have to login online and can send it at about 17$ per university.


Comments are closed.